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The Unknown Sigrid Undset: Jenny and Other Works

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4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  40 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy is an internationally best-selling classic, but her earlier work has long been out of print. In this new collection, readers finally have a window into Undset's views on women's sexuality, the relationship between motherhood and art, and the complex dynamic between women and men.The book includes two short stories, "Simonsen" ...more
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published December 31st 2001 by Steerforth Press (first published May 10th 2001)
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Teresa
Feb 18, 2014 Teresa rated it really liked it
I checked this out from the library, fully intending not to reread Jenny, but the introduction stated this new translation is livelier (in keeping with original) and not missing anything as the earlier translation does. I agree with the former, but each time I checked my old copy nothing seemed to be missing (I realize that's not a definitive search); perhaps it was only mere phrases here and there that had been left out of the 1921 translation.

Though maybe a bit overwrought, Jenny is neverthele
...more
Dhanaraj Rajan
Jul 25, 2014 Dhanaraj Rajan rated it really liked it
Introduction:

This is a collection containing some of the writings of the Norwegian Nobel Prize Winner (1928), Sigrid Undset. To be precise, it contains a Novel (Jenny), two short stories (THIJODOLF and SIMONSEN) and some of the letters that she wrote to her Swedish pen-pal.

JENNY:

The rating for novel would be Four and Half Stars.

Undset surprised me with the development of the novel and the eponymous character. The novel is divided into three sections. The first section is set in Rome and the seco
...more
Theresa~OctoberLace
Jul 09, 2014 Theresa~OctoberLace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, read-july-2014
I loved this book! Sigrid Undset is a Norwegian author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. I had added a couple of her books, Catherine of Siena and Kristin Lavransdatter to my TR list, and now knowing her style, will definitely make time to read those.

What made me decide to read The Unknown Sigrid Undset: Jenny and Other Works first was that it contained a sampling of her early work. The selections were a novel, Jenny, two short stories, and a sampling of personal letters written t
...more
Webster Bull
Aug 30, 2012 Webster Bull rated it really liked it
Shelves: sigrid-undset
This is a thought-provoking collection of early work by Sigrid Undset, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1928 for two epic works of historic fiction about Catholics in 14th century Norway. The three fictions gathered here are completely different. Written when Undset was in her 20s, all are set in modern Europe and their working-class characters are secular, on the surface anyway. Combined with early letters from Undset to Dea Forsberg, a Swedish pen pal, they add up to just what Tim ...more
Alix
Apr 13, 2015 Alix rated it it was amazing
There are certain authors you always go back to, and it was nice to see, almost ten years after I last read her, that Undset remains one of my favorites.
This book was a joy to read. A pleasure to spend time with the characters, some of whom I will now look back to as friends. I also realized I've never, so far, read a Sigrid Undset book with a happy ending. The novel "Jenny" is heartbreaking, and the shorter fiction "Thjodolf" maybe even more so. Still, it was a joy to read such beautiful prose
...more
Rebecca
Jan 23, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
This is a wonderful read.
Sverre
=== A fine selection of the Nobel laureate’s early writings ===

Sigrid Undset was a giant among early twentieth century authors—especially women authors. Undset’s two monumental works, the trilogy ‘Kristin Lavransdatter’ and the tetralogy ‘Olav Audunssøn’ (titled The Master of Hestviken in English), both set in Medieval Norway, for which she earned her Nobel Prize in literature, greatly overshadow her earlier and later works. This book includes her first full length novel, Jenny, two short storie
...more
Anne
Aug 27, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
Beautifully written (I don't think Undset could write any other way). The writing deserves 5 stars; Undset surely is one of the best novelists of all time. Still, I gave the book 4 stars because the novel Jenny was so depressing. I have read quite a number of Undset's works; this was the first that left me with nothing less than a feeling of despair, similar to the feeling I had when I tried (and failed) to read Independent People--a peculiarly grim, Norse despair. I had to take a break after Je ...more
Keith
Oct 31, 2015 Keith rated it it was amazing
Sigrid Undset is a rare talent, a writer who wanted to write because she "had" to write. The stories just wouldn't keep trying to write themselves in her head. This volume contains not only her splendid early novel, JENNY, but two fine long stories and letters she wrote to her lifelong Swedish pen pal, which open her interior world to us. This volume, called THE UNKNOWN SIGRID UNDSET, is the work of an author primarily unknown by people who are neither Norwegian nor Roman Catholic. If she is ...more
Barbara
Jun 09, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it
I read Jenny and the letters, but not the two short stories. Although I thought Jenny was really very well written and that it grappled with important issues, I was just fatigued. Ready to move onto something more contemporary. And, yes, I agree with reviewers who saw similarities between Jenny and Sister Carrie. I thought the language in this book was very accessible, not annoyingly old-fashioned.
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Undset was born in Kalundborg, Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two years old. In 1924, she converted to Catholicism and became a lay Dominican. She fled Norway in 1940 because of her opposition to Nazi Germany and the German occupation, but returned after the end of World War II in 1945.

Sigrid Undset received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. Most of the praise was for h
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